I’ve heard the term “Superhero Fatigue” thrown around a lot lately, in regards to movies, and I have to stop and wonder something: why is it okay for this to be a thing? Are people not realizing that superheroes are more than just one specific thing and not a cadre of hundreds of things, sometimes involves “capes and tights”?
My first complaint normally goes like this: superhero fatigue? Motherfucker, I’m sick of gangster movies, zombie movies, and I’m so sick of World War II material that I could literally throw up but you’re a little whiny about something nerds and geeks have been waiting all their lives for? We finally get our time in the sun and you complain about it?
That was my first complaint, but I have something far more refined now. Mainly because I understand what the complaints from the “fatigue victims” actually are, the real complaint they are making.
Everyone who claims to be having superhero fatigue is actually complaining about a connection to a comic book that just happens to be a superhero without thinking about the context of what the movie actually is about. Like, they are complaining because Captain America is carrying around a shield and wearing his “spangly costume” and that automatically means the movie is just going to be “superhero” without any other definition.
Captain America: The First Avenger was a World War II movie that just happened to contain supernatural elements, leading to connections to a larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, Captain America had his shield, his spangly costume, and he was on screen with that a lot… but did he go around saving people? Like, typically saving people? No. Captain America was shooting Nazis, fighting a war, and leading troops into enemy territory. What’s “superhero” about that?
Captain America: Winter Soldier was a spy thriller, where Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanov were betrayed by their organization and forced into hiding while being tracked by a specter of an assassin known as the Winter Solder. During their time in hiding, they uncover a plot to overthrow the legitimate governments of the world, kill millions, and decide to step in and stop them, which does eventually lead Captain America donning his spangly outfit and shield and fighting the Winter Soldier (who just happens to be his best friend). Does that sound “superhero”?
Captain America: Civil War is the fallout from Avengers: Age of Ultron as their attempt to save Sakovia from being used as a extinction level device to wipe out humanity ended in the deaths of a lot of lives. This splits the allegiances of all the characters into “pro-government” (meaning less freedom of choice) and “anti-government” (meaning more freedom of choice). They battle each other and during this Helmut Zemo is trying to rid the world of special people, which Captain America, Iron Man, and Winter Soldier don’t understand at first and end up stopping him and nearly killing each other in a final battle. What is “superhero” about that?
Those are just the Captain America examples.
Superhero fatigue is a lazy way of saying that the broader movie going public isn’t going to look past a mask or a cape, or listen past the fact a character comes from a comic book, to figure out whether they’re going to whine about the movie. That isn’t fair to the movie, and literally, isn’t fair to themselves. Captain America: Winter Soldier is one of the best spy thrillers I’ve ever seen. Period.
Someday, there won’t be as many superhero movies out there and people can just calm themselves down. I’ve had to endure a long line of subpar, terribly produced superhero movies that were awful because some executive who knows nothing about anything thought I wanted to see a movie about a character that draws nothing from the source material.
Would you want to watch a biopic about Ronald Reagan that doesn’t use his life as the basis for his story? That’s literally what executives for comic book movies used to be like and that sucks.
Stop complaining about a genre just because you don’t like it or you aren’t into that particular thing. Someone is and they have probably been waiting for their turn after the Rom Coms, the zombies, gangster remakes, war movies, westerns, dystopian future movies, 75th retelling of a Shakespeare story, whatever lame crap James Cameron is putting out, or whatever genre is coming next… like lesbian vampires from another dimension, or something. Someone is waiting for that and they deserve to see it!